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October 1999

For Your Staff: At the Repair Counter

Take– In Tips, Part 4: Liability

Establish a policy to follow in the event of damage or loss during a repair

'Liability" involves your responsibility to the customer's jewelry and the policy you will follow in the event of damage or loss. If you don't have a clear policy on this issue, take time to develop one that fits with your image and business ethics.

It's also important to know federal and state regulations governing your business. Liability pertains to every take– in, though difficulties are most likely to arise in repairs that pose risk to the jewelry. Here are three questions to consider.

What is your policy on liability? While one retailer may replace gems damaged during repair, another may require the customer to replace them at a retail price. Recommendation: Replace the gem at wholesale when it's damaged during repair. Whatever your policy, convey it clearly to the customer at take– in.

What are the laws and regulations regarding liability? In the event you're not legally obligated to replace damaged items, your may still offer a reasonable replacement option. Replacing only what you are legally required to can cast you in an unfavorable light with customers.

Does the customer clearly understand the policy and any risk associated with the repair? You must convey your policy and the risk associated with any repair clearly at take– in. This will avert anger and recriminations at pick– up.

by arthur skuratowicz, G.J.G., N.J.A. and Julie Nash, G.J.G., A.M.

Arthur Skuratowicz, G.J.G., N.J.A., and Julie Nash, G.J.G., A.M., operate Anton Nash LLC, an independent jewelry appraisal and consulting company in Colorado Springs, CO.

This antique brooch has several risk factors. The emerald mounted in the center is glued in place because there is no metal to push over it to hold it in.
The backside of the brooch shows it was assembled with rivets and repaired with lead solder. The owner wished to have a new pin finding soldered to the brooch. Good identification and inspection showed the emerald, pearls and lead solder repairs would not take heat. The client was informed of the risks and told the store could not assume any liability for undertaking the repair. The client made the informed decision to forgo the alteration.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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